Notre Dame received its first commitment in the 2017 recruiting class when Florida offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons committed to the Irish on an unofficial visit this past Saturday. Gibbons is listed at 6'5" and 305 pounds (how do these kids get so big?). Not surprisingly, given that he's just a sophomore, he does not currently have a ranking; If you like to look at cohort, though, consider that as a sophomore he holds offers from Ohio State, Michigan State, Louisville, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and West Virginia. As Adam Sandler would say, not too shabby.
Dillan's older brother Reilly was a sought-after lineman in the 2014 recruiting class who headed to Stanford; he transferred to South Florida after taking just a couple of summer classes on The Farm and is seeking a hardship waiver to be eligible immediately. That might raise a little bit of a red flag about potential homesickness, but Dillan of course is a different person and he seems to have truly fallen in love with Notre Dame. He intends to recruit hard for the 2017 class, starting with top-ranked QB Hunter Johnson.
Papa was quite proud:
Admissions is no doubt impressed by his well-roundedness, as catlogued by the South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen:
Note: Hansen's article mentions that Dillan fell in love with Notre Dame at the 2008 Syracuse game - the same game that netted us Manti Te'o - and decided he would play ball in that stadium one day. We should have more losses in brutally cold weather, apparently.
If you like to watch videos of people kicking puppies or clubbing baby seals, this highlight reel is for you. Gibbons just buries defender after defender - he doesn't want to take his man out of the play, he wants to take his man out. I love the play at the 0:48 mark; he starts to block his guy, pushes him to the ground about ten yards downfield, someone else gets in the way, he throws that guy to the ground, and then makes a point to fall on top of the original guy. GIVE ME ALL MY PANCAKES.
He looks like he moves his feet pretty well and manages to bend his hips and keep leverage pretty well too; he might get a little high sometimes, but I don't want to get too wrapped up in technique for a 15 year old. There's plenty of time for him to work all that out. What stands out on film is that he's big, he moves well, and he's mean. Sign him up!
Harry Hiestand has arguably been the best recruiter and developer of offensive linemen in the country - just ask Zack Martin, the first rookie All-Pro lineman since the Andrews Sisters were on the pop charts. That effectively kills most guys' chances to make an immediate impact on the line, but that's probably in their own best interest anyway. Gibbons will get a chance to learn his way around campus, hone his technique, and build strength before his number is called on the field.
Long Term / Career
I don't even know how to do this for a high school sophomore. All that is probably fair to say at this point is that Gibbons looks like he has the physical ability, competitive disposition, and intelligence to be an eventual starter for the Irish. If he keeps working, the sky is the limit.